Stacey Abrams, a rising Democratic political star, announced Tuesday morning that she will not run for the U.S. Senate in 2020, fueling further speculation as to whether she may join her party’s crowded presidential primary.
“I do not see the U.S. Senate as the best role for me in this battle for our nation’s future,” Abrams said in a video shared to social media. However, she pledged to do everything she can to support a challenger to Georgia’s junior senator David Perdue (R), who is up for his first re-election next year.
I am grateful for all the encouragement I received to run for U.S. Senate, and I’m committed to doing everything I can to help elect a Democrat to that seat next year. #gapol pic.twitter.com/5o14BqgqwO
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) April 30, 2019
While Abrams did not give any direct clues that this decision will lead her to mount a presidential campaign, she did tease an announcement in the “coming weeks” on “groundbreaking initiatives to protect the right to vote.” Abrams is currently the leader of Fair Fight Action, an organization she founded immediately after she lost to former Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp in the state’s 2018 gubernatorial election. Since last November, she has repeatedly asserted without evidence that Kemp stole the election through voter suppression — and continued to grind that axe in her video on skipping a Senate run. “Democracy in America is under attack. Voter suppression is rampant and it is real,” she said, then declared Georgians’ “votes were not counted” in 2018.
Despite her electoral loss, Abrams continues to enjoy prominence in the Democratic party. She was chosen to deliver the rebuttal to President Donald Trump’s 2019 State of the Union Address, and former Vice President Joe Biden — currently the party’s 2020 frontrunner — floated a trial balloon for selecting Abrams as his running mate early in the presidential primary. Abrams publicly demurred, telling MSNBC, “I do not believe you run for second place,” while her associates anonymously lambasted Biden for his “serious entitlement” in leaning on a woman of color to “save his ass.”
Abrams told Mika Brzezinski in early April that she first needed to rule out a Senate run before she would consider a presidential campaign. “The next conversation for myself will be, if not the Senate, then what else?”
Last month, Abrams told CBS News that she believed a woman or a minority candidate would likely win the Democratic primary. Currently, polls show that the race is dominated by white men; political veterans Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) lead the pack, but former Rep. Beto O’Rourke and Mayor Pete Buttigieg — charismatic newcomers with thin résumés — have gained much more support than high-profile minority candidates like Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA) or Cory Booker (D-NJ).